News — November 12, 2002

Don?t Miss the 2002 TOYP Ceremony

One of our missions is to foster a new generation of future leaders? JCI?s TOYP has contributed to this aspect of our philanthropic mission by encouraging young people throughout the word and thereby effectively paving the road to collective and individual achievement? ?Ayako Sono, The Nippon Foundation Chairperson, 1999 The Outstanding Young Persons of the World (TOYP) Ceremony will take place this year at the MGM EXF Theater in Las Vegas on Monday, November 25, at 18:30?20:45. Since the TOYP program began in 1981, Junior Chamber International has honored, year after year, the most remarkable young people in the world. Their contributions have inspired thousands of others. These year?s TOYP honorees are no exception. Here?s a brief summary of their accomplishments.
Josiah L. Go, Philippines Academic Leadership and Accomplishment Josiah L. Go was born in Quezon City, Philippines, on April 22, 1962. He began his working career at age 15 in his grandfather?s machine shop, and has since excelled as a business leader, role model, and highly respected educator and motivator in the Philippine business community. He established Waters Philippines in 1994 as a network marketing business in durable goods, the first such business in the Philippines, and later the leader in the market for all of Asia. Aware that many young people in the Philippines did not have the luxury of continuing their education, he developed a network marketing program that has helped countless youths overcome the poverty cycle. He created a 3-credit course in network marketing for La Salle University, which has been taught at two of Asia?s oldest universities. Sought after as a speaker, consultant, author, and key marketing specialist in the Philippines, he was given a professorship at La Salle University. He has assisted the National Marketing Conference and other associations. He founded the Ateneo Junior Marketing Association; the MLM Institute to help entrepreneurs; and the Josiah Go Foundation, Inc., to provide scholarships to students. He has helped the business community and countless young people in the Philippines. Michelle Yeoh, Malaysia Cultural Achievement Born August 6, 1962, in Ipoh, a small mining town in western Malaysia, Michelle Yeoh?s parents taught her Malay and English, as well as her native Cantonese. Inspired by the American movie Fame, she enrolled in England?s Royal Academy of Dance, earning her BA degree. Although a back injury ended her career as a ballerina, she returned to her native Malaysia and was crowned Miss Malaysia in 1983. She first appeared with Jackie Chan in a television commercial, and was recruited by a film production company. She adopted the stage name of Michelle Khan, and appeared in her first starring role in Yes Madam! To prepare herself for Kung Fu movie scenes, Michelle Yeoh, who had no previous martial arts experience, practiced nine hours a day working out and learning to take a punch. She became an accomplished motorcyclist, and performed daring stunts alongside other such greats as Jackie Chan. She was seriously injured in a jumping stunt, cracking a vertebra, but against all odds, recovered and went on to star in many more films, including the James Bond thriller Tomorrow Never Dies with Pierce Brosnan. She was elected as one of the sexiest fifty people of the year in 1997, and starred in The Soong Sisters, a historical drama that drew much praise from critics. Her hard work and her dedication to her art promise even greater success in the future and constitute an example to others. Dr. Jennifer Weeks Sekowski, U.S.A. Medical Innovation Born May 22, 1970, in Fallston, Maryland, Dr. Jennifer Weeks Sekowski began her professional career as a graduate student in The Program in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Maryland. Dr. Weeks Sekowski? first works were in the area of breast cancer research. In 1994, her research in DNA and breast cancer resulted in great advances in curing this devastating disease. Subsequently, she has performed research for the U.S. Military on defense from biological warfare and toxicants. Her work, greatly acclaimed by the Department of Defense, may result in saving many lives. Most remarkably, Dr. Weeks Sekowski passed up opportunities to work for large corporations, which would have paid her handsomely for her incredible skills, and worked instead to further her humanitarian goals. Her work to fight breast cancer early in her career and now her work with biological warfare defense benefits not only a community, or a state, but the entire world. Her achievements at such a young age are truly outstanding, an epitome of service to humanity. Kelly A. Hill, U.S.A. Moral and/or Environmental Leadership Born May 16, 1971, Kelly Hill is the founder and Special Advisor of Sisters Offering Support (SOS), an organization she founded in Hawaii in 1996. After escaping sexual exploitation of which had been a victim since she was sixteen, she established SOS with to help other young women avoid the misery of commercial sexual exploitation (CSE). Hill not only rebuilt her own life, but also obtained a Radio and Television Arts degree, became a journalist, and inspired numerous groups to combat commercial sexual exploitation. She works closely with criminal justice and social service agencies to help others caught in the web of commercial sexual exploitation. She concentrates on improving the self-esteem of young victims. As a result, Kelly Hill has received numerous awards, and has been instrumental in the passage of three state laws providing for the welfare of the young victims of CSE. Hill?s efforts have benefited the community and humanity, by showing both the victims of CSE and the world that there is hope for a better life. Caroline Casey, Ireland Personal Improvement and Accomplishment Born October 20, 1971, in Dublin, Ireland, Caroline Casey is legally blind. Yet, she has embarked upon a journey around the world dubbed ?Around the World in Eighty Ways,? along with three other handicapped persons to demonstrate to the world that the handicapped have much to contribute. Her last adventure was on the back of an elephant across a thousand kilometers of southern India, to the amazement of Indians, many of who are handicapped as well. Her new journey will end in December of 2002. Casey?s achievements include numerous presentations on the benefits of hiring the disabled both in her native Ireland and abroad. ?I love the sense of adventure and the excitement of achieving things you can only dream of. I also want to capture people?s imaginations as we prove we all have ability, regardless of what the label says. That?s the message we need to remind people and employers of. I?m not unique. There are hundreds of people with a disability who have so much to offer,? she says. Casey continues to make a difference to the life of everyone she meets through her energy, vitality, and commitment to making a real difference. Luis Alfonso Arias Aristizabal, Colombia Political, Legal and/or Governmental Affairs Born on July 5, 1964, Luis Alfonso Arias Aristizabal has dedicated most of his life to public service in his city and his province. While working, he studied Economics at the University of Manizales, graduated as an Economist, and specialized in Systems and Finance. He has succeeded on his own merits, contributing significantly to his city, Manizales, and his provide, Caldas. As Secretary of the Treasury of Manizales, he took on a city in financial crisis and left it completely stabilized. At the regional level, he took the province?s main state-run enterprise, which sustains the Health and Education sectors, when it was on the verge of bankruptcy, and turned it around. He is currently Governor of the Province of Caldas, the youngest Governor in Colombia. He has improved the road infrastructure of the poorest municipalities, allowing the development of tourism and the enjoyment of the region?s unique characteristics to Colombians and foreigners alike. He has been able to join different branches of government for the benefit of the community, the region, and the country. Arias Aristizabal is an example of extraordinary civic leadership. Arturas Zuokas, Lithuania Political, Legal and/or Governmental Affairs Born February 21, 1968, in Vilnius, Lithuania, Arturas Zuokas experienced the remains of Soviet rule in a society that disregarded the individual. However, he has become an outstanding individual in every way. Beginning as a journalist extraordinaire, he filmed war zones and hot spots throughout the world. He later became an entrepreneur and helped develop the commerce in his hometown, Vilnius, and was elected Vilnius mayor. As a mayor, Zuokas has accomplished a great deal for his city, helping it recover from a serious depression by increasing foreign investment. He has managed to bring Vilnius into the modern free world. He has served his city selflessly, emulating the efforts of Mayor Giuliani of New York by concentrating on eliminating crime, and making the city of Vilnius a safe and happy place for its citizens. Because of his extraordinary contributions and dedication to improve the living conditions of his fellow citizens, Arturas Zuokas is an outstanding role model for Lithuanians and young people everywhere. Dr. Lim Chee Peng, Malaysia Scientific and/or Technological Development Dr. Lim Chee Peng was born January 16, 1968, in Malaysia. A brilliant student, he was awarded a scholarship to the University of Sheffield in 1992, and won the Laverick-Webster-Hewitt Prize for his Masters Degree Thesis in 1993. He thus began his research into the area of Artificial Intelligence (AI). After completing his PhD, for which he received more awards and accolades, Dr. Lim returned to Malaysia in 1997, and began teaching at the University of Science. Dr. Lim Chee Peng?s efforts made great strides in the development of computers capable of human intelligence, which have applications in medicine and many other areas crucial for humanity. Allowing doctors to borrow and exchange techniques from other lands, these computer developments will greatly enhance treatment of patients virtually anywhere in the world. His work, which will have a profound impact on our society and our daily lives, is definitely in agreement with JCI?s Creed. Dr. Susan Shwu-Chen Tsay, R.O.C. Scientific and/or Technological Development Born September 19, 1962, in a destitute family in Taiwan, Dr. Susan Tsay excelled as a student and won scholarships that allowed her to pursue graduate studies at the Johns Hopkins University in the United States, where she completed her PhD. She became a brilliant scientist and entrepreneur. Because of her significant contributions to the fields of genetic engineering, she was invited to establish a company to develop bioscience and technology. She is president and CEO of Well-being Biochemical Corporation. Her research efforts are devoted to innovative projects that benefit humanity. Her work encompasses four major areas?molecular genomics, drug discovery, organic synthesis, and polymer science. Dr. Susan Tsay has received numerous awards from national and international organizations from Asia, Europe and the United States, and has been named in The International Who?s Who of Intellectuals for her achievements and social contributions. She has used her position as president of Well-being Biochemical Corporation to serve people all over the world. Her reputation is established not only because of her scientific and technological achievements, but also because of her behavior as a role model. She is an inspiration to today?s young scientists and entrepreneurs. Dr. Sunil Surajprasad Gupta, India Academic Leadership and Accomplishment Born July 20, 1964, Dr. Sunil Gupta has been a physician since his graduation from the Indira Gandhi Medical College in Nagpur, India, in 1990, and has striven to increase awareness of India?s unique medical situation. India has one of the highest incidences of diabetes in the world. Dr. Gupta?s efforts to educate the public and reach the thousands who may unknowingly have diabetes are helping to reduce the effects of this debilitating disease. Dr. Gupta organized India?s ?Diabetes Awareness Rally? to help people realize that diabetes is not just a personal illness in India, but a social problem. He has participated in more than 300 diagnostic camps, exhibitions and lectures in urban and rural areas, which have benefited more than 50,000 individuals, and some 6,000 medical professionals. Dr. Gupta has received numerous awards for his humanitarian efforts in India, and believes that ?Service to humanity is the best work of life.? To view photos of the ten TOYP honorees, please click here.
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